Welcome to BRBRbrooklyn! Whether you are pedaling to the shore, the store, your neighbor’s stoop, or back to your own coop, this blog is for you. Bay Ridge Bicycle Routes is an effort raise to awareness within our neighborhood and among civic groups about the activities of bicyclists in Bay Ridge and other nearby communities in southern Brooklyn.

Our neighborhood’s immediate access to the harbor, less congested street traffic, friendly atmosphere, expansive parks and flat terrain (except, of course, for the steep ridge in Bay Ridge!) makes our corner of New York City one of the most fantastic places to ride a bicycle. Whether for transportation, recreation, fun or fitness, cycling is great in Bay Ridge.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bloomberg on Bike Lanes

Mayor Bloomberg conceded last night that his administration hasn’t done enough to consult with communities about bike lanes after irate residents of the Rockaways heckled a top Transportation Department official who extolled their virtues at a town hall meeting.

"Bicycle lanes are one of the more controversial things, obviously," the mayor said following the outburst at the Bayswater Civic Association.

"Some people love ‘em and some people hate them... It’s probably true that in many of these cases we could do a better job and we’re going to try to do that."

Regulating Distracted Pedestrians

We're drifting a little off-topic from BRBR's cycling mission, but in the finger-waving spirit of the recent days' news are even more ideas for the regulation of tangential streetlife activities. This one proposes ticketing pedestrians wearing headphones or talking on the phone while crossing the street.

In New York, a bill is pending in the legislature’s transportation committee that would ban the use of mobile phones, iPods or other electronic devices while crossing streets — runners and other exercisers included. Legislation pending in Oregon would restrict bicyclists from using mobile phones and music players, and a Virginia bill would keep such riders from using a “hand-held communication device.”

Read more here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Requiring "Exhaustive Public Review" for Bicycle Lanes?

Two city councilmen are pressing Mayor Blooomberg and his bike-lane-loving transportation chief to require that any new bicycle lanes go through the same exhaustive public review as other road changes.

Staten Island Councilman James Oddo, the Republican minority leader, and Councilman Vincent Ignizio(R-SI) penned a letter last week demanding an explanation from Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, an avid cyclist and bike-lane proponent, of why the lanes don't require the scrutiny.

Looks like January is turning into a dissenting month for cycling in NYC.

Read more and pen a letter to Councilmembers Oddo and Ignizio with Transportation Alternative's link here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

More on Bicycle Licenses?

The mocking tone of our prior post didn't kill the story.

The brainchild of Nica Lalli, a writer and member of Community Board 6, says “Making it easier to give people tickets with bikes will be good revenue for the city,” who also admitted she is not a “bike person."

Hasn't NYC been spending a lot of time and effort and money to encourage cycling throughout the city? Won't this be counter to that goal?

Read the full story here.

We're guessing this bicycle license nonsense will all end soon, just like Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker's bill in New Jersey which was withdrawn less than two weeks ago.

New NYC Cycling Crackdown

Brave enough to ride in early January in sub-freezing temps over black ice and you just want to get home? Don't try a shortcut.

"In just the first two weeks of January in Manhattan, cops handed out nearly 1,000 tickets charging wayward riders with breaking the kind of laws many seem to constantly ignore: going the wrong way, running lights, making illegal turns and riding on the sidewalk.... The NYPD did not have the exact number of bicycle tickets written out in Manhattan over any other two-week period, but sources are sure they broke a record in early January.... In addition to 979 Manhattan tickets, 315 were issued in Brooklyn and 167 were doled out in Queens"

Saturday, January 22, 2011

How do you develop a greenway, park, or neighborhood space?

The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative is holding a public discussion about their development for a new pulbic open space on the Columbia Waterfront. This would be a great opportunity for the local Bay Ridge community or any neighborhood to see a process in action, maybe learn a few tips, meet a few people and bring that information back home.

More Details:

What: Columbia Waterfront Park Visioning Meeting
When: Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011, 6:30-8:30 PM
Where: The Union Street Star Theater, 101 Union Street

More Information at the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative website calendar.

BTW - the Greenway's near-term plans currently extend to Sunset Park near the Brooklyn Army terminal. The big plan is to extend through Bay Ridge, past Coney Island and out to Jamaica Bay and beyond.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Papers, Please"

We at BRBR agree that bicyclists should not ride around the City of New York terrorizing anyone's grandparents. However, requiring all bicycles in the city to have a paid and identifiable license registration sticker for the purposes of issuing a ticket or summons to bicycle riders who do not provide ample free space or respect to our elder generation seems a bit absurd.

OK folks, it doesn't take too much logic to know that you need to watch out for seniors, kids, moms, dads, neighbors, dogs, squirrels, cats (though cats are usually quick and alert enough to get out of the way... we've never run over one with our bicycle... we weren't trying to... really... the cat was just right out there), livestock, raccoons, ducks, Canadian Geese, etc, etc while riding your bicycle. This is especially true if you might be distracted while riding a bicycle and attempting to accomplish a major work of art at the same time.

Read more about it at the NY Post or see Transportation Alternative's efax campaign to Councilmember Eric Ulrich on the subject if you are truly motivated to ranting civic participation on the issue.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bikelash! Cops to crack down on two-wheelers

January 5: The NYPD has been ordered to begin a borough-wide crackdown that will hit renegade riders for often-overlooked “vehicular offenses” like failing to obey traffic signals and signs, breaking the speed limit, tailgating, and even failure to signal before turning.

Several police sources said on Tuesday that the strict enforcement of safety and vehicle traffic laws — which apply the same to cars as they do to cycles — will begin in a matter of weeks, and that bicyclists caught breaking those rules will be issued a moving violation.

Link to the Full Story.

OK...yeah... we've been riding outside a whole lot in the past few weeks. Lots of snow and cold temp still throughout Brooklyn.

Though we did see some reports on the CRCA message board about tickets being issued to cyclists in and around Central Park in the days just after this story was released and warnings being given on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Stats: Bicycling vs Bowling

The above caption is a random fact noted by the New York Times in the 130th edition of the Statistical Abstract of the United States, the annual profile of the country published on Thursday by the Census Bureau.

Offhand, of course we have no hard stats, but with the decline of bowling alleys throughout Brooklyn and NYC and the increase in bicycle lanes, the trend might be the opposite in our town.

It is hard to envision that bowling is (or could have once been) so popular. When Mark Lanes was being closed in 2006 to make way for a new parking garage for Century 21, the Bay Ridge Paper ran a story reporting that in 1962, there were 11,476 bowling alleys nationwide with 163,323 lanes. In 2006 there were only 5,811 alleys with 119,815 lanes. Brooklyn has just 157 of those lanes.

This is evidence that either a) bowling really isn't too popular in these parts or b) the amount of young adults cycling is truly dismally low despite the efforts being made to promote bicycling and health in NYC.

Hmmm, there's more of a story in here... in the meantime, see this Google map of bowling lanes and bicycle routes

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Traffic Signal Coming to Shore Road and 99th

Coming Soon: A traffic signal at Shore Road and 99th Street, at the corner of Fontbonne Hall. The signal was announced by Senator Marty Golden and will be installed by March 2011.

Read more about the story at the Brooklyn Eagle or the letter from DOT to the Senator approving the signal.

This is the second recent new traffic signal installed on Shore Road. The other was just completed in November of 2010 at the intersection with Ridge Boulevard. Read Senator Golden's press releases here.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

This is a bit farther from Bay Ridge but if you haven't heard, the National Parks service, Regional Planning Association and other elected officials are looking for input regarding the future of Floyd Bennett Field. Fishing, hiking, sports and cycling are all happening out at Floyd Bennett Field, along with a large host of other activities. Did you know there was even bicycle racing out at Floyd Bennett Field? Check out a local team's desire to keep races happening there.

Read more about the draft here and send in your ideas and responses by January 21.